Questioning the Conditional Visibility of the Chinese

(Non)Normative Representations of China and Chineseness in Chilean Cultural Productions


In: Journal of Chinese Overseas
Maria Montt Strabucchi Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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Carol Chan Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano

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Despite a long history of Chinese presence in Chile and the Americas, the Chinese tend to remain in a state of conditional visibility. Questioning the paradoxical ubiquity and invisibility of expressions of Chineseness in the physical and cultural landscape of Santiago, we examine cultural and discursive processes of (re)production that contribute to this scenario. Informed by understandings of identity and contextualized by the history of the Chinese presence in Chile, we consider the diverse ways in which Chinese people and Chineseness are portrayed on Chilean television and in films and theatre plays. We examine how these representations enable forms of subordination and silencing, and/or highlight the agency of Chinese persons. We show that while Chineseness and Chinese people are typically depicted as one-dimensional and incomprehensible, some productions visibilize and problematize such empty stereotypes. Finally, we demonstrate how these representations resignify Chineseness in a broader Latin American and global context.


尽管智利乃至美洲华人的历史源远流长,但他们似乎仍停留在一种有条件性的可见状态。我们研究了文化和话语的生产过程,以探询圣地亚哥地区的经济及文化环境中,对中国/中华性表达的吊诡普遍性及不可见性。通过对其身份的理解,加之基于华人于智利活动历史的背景,我们考量了中国和中华性在智利电视,电影和戏剧中被描述的各种形式。我们研究了这些表述如何塑造中国人服从和沉默的形象,亦或是突出中国人的能动性。我们揭示了尽管中华性及华人通常被描绘成是一维和难以理解的,但某些文化产物则是将这类空洞的刻板印象可视化和问题化。此外,我 们也展示了在广泛的拉丁美洲及全球化背景下,这些表述如何得以重新彰显中 华性。

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